I used Hotheads hair extensions for 2 years, but can no longer recommend them. Today, I’m going to talk about everything from the process of putting them in and maintenance to the cost. I’ll share a before and after of my tape-in hair extensions and answer your questions, too. Shop my favorite clean beauty products here.


Everything You Need to Know about Tape-In Hair Extensions


Tape-in hair extensions use a medical grade adhesive that bonds to the hair. The adhesive is hypoallergenic and water resistant. A few of my friends used these extensions years ago and loved them. When she took them out, they didn’t cause any damage to her hair – something I was so worried about since my hair is fine to begin with. Having fine hair is something I’ve never felt too great about, and I hate to admit this, but It’s something I’ve felt anxious and sad about. I tried fusion extensions years ago and they caused so much damage, so that was a big concern for me.

They’re medium maintenance

These extensions are a bit of a process if you’re not used to going into the salon every 4-6 weeks, but as someone who prefers an easier beauty regimen, I’d say they feel as easy as hair extensions can. If you have fine hair, I can’t recommend them enough. The cost and time is so worth it to me, because having hair extensions has truthfully completely changed the way I feel day-to-day. I love them and couldn’t be happier.

My favorite thing about these extensions is that you can barely feel them.

The tabs are so thin, so if you were to touch the back of my head, you’d never know I had them in. Not that it’s a secret because here I am posting about it on the internet, but it’s nice that they blend right in. You can feel them when running your hands through your hair, but that’s not a thing I do and it’s not a thing people do when they meet me, so that has not been an issue. When I first decided to start using extensions, my stylist, (I see Blake at Thomas West Salon in Chicago) color matched my hair, and placed an order for me.


The process is pretty simple and takes about 30-45 minutes to apply the extensions.

Your stylist will peel back the tab and apply to a thin layer of hair. They’re real hair, so they feel like my hair, and I honestly barely notice them. Pulling my hair up can be a little annoying, especially as my hair grows out. The tabs can start to bend a little bit and when I get closer to the 4 week mark, 1-2 of them might start to fall off a little, but I’ve loved them enough that this really doesn’t bother me that much. The fact that my hair can slip out without breaking is a good thing, right? And like I said, it only happens to 1-2 pieces when it’s time to put them back in.

Before getting tape-in hair extensions 

I tried showing it spread  I had some crazy damage and post-baby hair growth, so you can see how broken my hair was. This was shot months ago, and we’ve since cut a lot of length off, which has made my hair look much healthier. But you can see how fine it is. I actually think it looks even more fine in person.


So here’s the before and after. You can see it’s much, much fuller. I don’t look like I have “thick” hair, but it looks full.

After tape-in hair extensions


Do they work with fine hair?

Yes! I have fine hair and use them for fullness fullness. I could add length but would need a lot more extensions in my hair to really fill it, and I’d rather keep things simple, and as budget-friendly as possible. Just using them to add thickness allows me to use fewer extensions at a time. I’ll add anywhere from 10-12 while some add 20 or more. 

What is the cost?

Each pack comes with 10 extensions and costs $300-400 depending on length. They last for about 8 months. The cost will vary on how full or long you want your hair. People add anywhere from 1-2 packs. I have 1 1/4 in.

How do you apply them?

According to Blake, place the hair at a lower range so that she has the versatility to wear her hair up or down. Use complete extensions up to behind the ear. Towards the face, use single sided tape. These areas have higher visibility so using the single sided tape allows for a maximum blend with existing hair. The single sided extensions are also more flexible allowing the hair to be pulled back easier.

During the initial application I remove the protective paper, uncovering the adhesive. I section the hair and place one tab underneath my section a few millimeters from the scalp. Then I take another tab and place it directly on top of the bottom tab then press to seal. In between each extension ‘sandwich’ is small section of the client’s hair. The density of the hair tells us how much hair is needed to bond properly to the extensions. The adhesive tab is placed far enough away from the scalp to maintain flexibility of movement, so that there is no tension at base of the hair. Tape-In extensions are best to maintain the density of the hair, because the hair lays flat between them in its natural resting state. 


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How do you take care of them?

Care after installation is pretty easy. You’re supposed to keep product and heat off the tabs. I’m probably not the best at always avoiding getting product on tabs, but do my best to keep heat off. When washing, shampoo as normal (with a sulfate-free shampoo), and only condition the middle and ends. I condition everything and it’s never been an issue. You can apply product to the scalp only where there are no extensions.

When drying the hair, section each row of the extensions and dry the base with medium heat 8-10” away from the scalp. If you prefer to air dry your hair, make sure you dry the base of the tabs to avoid them becoming gummy, and slipping. You can then allow the rest of the hair to dry on its own. Style the ends as normal, keeping in mind to lighten the tension on any of the extension hair to preserve density, and tape adherence. 

I wash my hair an average of 3x per week, depending on how much cardio I’m doing. I have frizzy, difficult hair that’s much easier to maintain after a straightening. Every 3 months, we remove my extensions and straighten everything. Again, a process, but well worth it for me.

How often do you reapply them? What is the process like and what does it cost?

During the re-application service, the extension tabs are individually sprayed with the Hotheads solvent to dissolve the adhesive, and are gently removed from the hair. Once all the extensions are removed, they are re-tabbed with another adhesive strip and re-applied to clean hair. If you take care of them, they can last up to 8 months. 

How long do they last?

Hotheads will tell you that they only last up to 3 applications, but they last a lot longer for me. My hair grows pretty quickly, so I come in every 4 weeks, which according to my stylist, is more frequent than most. I’ve gotten anywhere from 6-8 months out of them. Every time you reapply, a new tape tab is added, so the base gets a bit thicker. Once they’re too thick, they need to be replaced. Over time, the hair sheds from the extensions, but that’s never been an issue for me. Heat styling will also damage the hair, but I dry and wave my hair, and that hasn’t been an issue, either.

Do they feel tight or heavy?

They’re a little tight the first night after application. The process isn’t painful and it doesn’t bother me, but they’re a little snug that first evening. They don’t feel heavy at all. I really don’t notice that they’re in unless I’m pulling my hair up, since I can sometimes see tabs peeking out on the sides.

Can you wear a high pony tail?

My hair is too short for one but that would probably be tricky with the tape on the side. Once you start pulling it can bend a little bit.